Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., recently announced that it would creating “gender-open restrooms” for students in the fall.
“We are trying to be responsive to the needs of all of our students and to be inclusive,” Northwestern University spokesman Bob Rowley told The College Fix. “This is becoming a common occurrence on campuses across the U.S.”
Two sex-segregated bathrooms will be changed into gender-neutral bathrooms, but will not have any plumbing changes, just new signs outside.
While some people are concerned about female students sharing bathrooms with anatomically male students who self-identify as female, LGBTQ advocates applaud the move.
“We received overwhelmingly positive information, and so we went with it,” Devin Moss, of Northwestern’s LGBTQ Resource Center, told the Daily Northwestern student newspaper. “We didn’t really get any major concerns.”
The LGBTQ Resource Center is working with the school administration to create a universal bathroom sign.
According to the pro-LGBTQ Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst:
Certain people feel threatened in single-sex bathrooms based on their presumed sexual orientation rather than gender identity. Students have faced gay-baiting comments in our university’s sex-segregated bathrooms. Men’s bathrooms may be particular sites for this sort of harassment because of their image as queer cruising grounds.
Northwestern University plans to offer more gender-neutral bathrooms in the future.